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Indian official quits over new state

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh resigns in protest against passage of bill for creating new Telangana state.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2014 08:02
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The creation of the new state has been a divisive issue, triggering a revolt within the ruling Congress party [AFP]

Kiran Kumar Reddy, the chief minister of India's southern Andhra Pradesh state, has resigned a day after the country's lower house of parliament voted in favour of bifurcating the state to create a new Telangana state.

Reddy handed over his resignation letter to the state governor on Wednesday morning.

The creation of Telangana, India's 29th state, has been a deeply divisive issue. Reddy led a large faction within his ruling Congress party to oppose the move.

The Indian parliament had also witnessed uproarious scenes in recent days over the issue, with irate MPs coming to blows and one particular legislator using a pepper spray on those who disagreed with him.

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The bill to create Telangana, however, was passed on Tuesday with a voice vote. Telecast of the proceedings on the state-owned Lok Sabha TV was discontinued during the debate, though authorities blamed it on a technical glitch.

"It is shameful that this bill was presented like robbers, hiding from people, putting off TV, throwing out those who were objecting. The BJP also conspired to harm Telugu people, striking a secret deal with the Congress," Reddy said.

The rebellion by Reddy - who belongs to the Congress which heads the federal government in Delhi - is significant. On Tuesday, Indian federal minister P Chidambaram said Reddy had forfeited the moral right to continue as the state chief minister.

Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament, is to debate the Telangana bill on Wednesday.

While people living in the regions of what would be known as Telangana have welcomed the bifurcation, residents of non-Telangana regions of undivided Andhra Pradesh are opposed to the move. Opponents of the move have called for a day-long strike on Wednesday to protest against the passage of the Telangana bill in the lower house.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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